Client: Action Research
Campaign: Launch of ’Touching Lives’ campaign
PR Team: In-house
Timescale: 3 Mar - Apr 2000
Budget: pounds 5,000
National medical research charity, Action Research, is dedicated to
preventing and treating disease and disability by funding medical
The ’Touching Lives’ campaign for 2000 plays on the fact that the
charity has changed, and intends to keep changing for the better, the
lives of the UK’s population.
The charity’s current projects include investigating the causes of
premature birth, meningitis, sickle cell disease, epilepsy and
Action Research is to run a series of events over the course of the
summer to raise a targeted pounds 1.5 million.
To raise awareness of the charity and its planned events, targeting the
national and regional media, including Scotland, Wales and Ireland, to
kick off the fundraising.
Strategy and Plan
Action Research’s official mascot is Paddington Bear. A Paddington and
Action Research-branded vehicle and costume were devised to take the
campaign around the UK. Paddington and Company - owner of the Paddington
trademark - agreed to fund the artwork and driver of the van. Toyota
supported the campaign by providing the charity with a vehicle and Royal
and Sun Alliance also agreed to offer its services and payed for
To tie in with the Paddington theme, the in-house team decided to kick
off the campaign on National Marmalade Day (3 March) at St Mary’s
Hospital in Paddington.
Ken Livingstone agreed to attend the photocall and offer his
encouragement and support of the charity. He was deemed an appropriate
figure as his first job was working as a lab technician in medical
research. The national press were invited to the event and about 20
press photographers and one TV crew attended.
Following the London launch the ’bear-mobile’ travelled to cities and
towns across the UK to launch ’Touching Lives’ to the regional
Details of forthcoming fund-raising events that the public could
participate in were disclosed to regional media.
Many of the venues were chosen because they were institutions that had
been funded for medical research by Action Research. For example, the
University of Newcastle has discovered a gene responsible for muscular
dystrophy using research funded by the charity.
The campaign launch was also supported with an advertising campaign
using four-sheet poster advertising at railway stations running into a
number of major London terminals, and nationwide advertising and
promotion on Classic FM.
In July, a charity cycle ride to Paris is being held and a ’bring your
bear’ week is scheduled for June, when adults and children can make a
donation and take their teddy into the office or classroom.
Measurement and Evaluation
The national launch in London achieved coverage in the Times, the
Independent, the Daily Star, the Morning Star, the Glasgow Herald,
regional TV news programme London Tonight and BBC Online. The regional
launches were covered in local papers and radio stations across the
The ’Touching Lives’ campaign is ongoing, with many events planned for
the coming year. Funds raised have so far been minimal as the majority
of events are planned for the summer.
The use of the ’bear-mobile’ gained extensive national and regional
coverage, which hopefully informed a large proportion of the public of
what the charity does and of the chance of taking part in forthcoming
events. Given its past record for fundraising and high media profile,
the charity should achieve its target.